Saying enthusiastically “Yeah Baby!” and breaking many a wine glass with his table-thumping enthusiasm, Bob Granger antiqued several people’s kitchen tables with his Guelph Ingrams ring. Bob was larger than life, happy-go-lucky and fun-loving. He was a Guelph Ingrams baseball champion (times four), County of Wellington legend, master renovator, father and grandfather, among other accomplishments. Bob always had fun no matter what he was doing, always looked at positive side and was just plain old fun to be around.
Bob passed away peacefully at Groves Memorial Hospital in the palliative care suite on July 26, 2015 on his grandson’s birthday at 4:00 in the morning. He was 68 years old.
Robert Matthew (Bob) Granger was born in Guelph on January 31, 1947 to James (Scotty) and Anne Granger. Bob was the second youngest of four children, with siblings Pat, Larry and Nancy. The Granger family grew up on Suffolk Street and then Hales Crescent in Guelph. Bob’s father Scotty was a well-known Guelph ball player who ran the King Edward Hotel. Bob’s mother Anne worked at Hammonds Manufacturing in Guelph.
Bob’s older brother Larry brought Bob out to play ball with him one time and Larry stopped bringing him to play ball after that as Bob proved to be quite the competition. Larry’s introduction of his little brother to the game of ball sparked a lifelong love of the sport in Bob, and he honed his skills during the teen years. Bob attended high school at John F. Ross C.V.I. and he enjoyed anything with wheels that would go fast. He had a Kawasaki and a Honda motorbike and later in life his Chevy SSR would be his vehicle of choice.
When Bob was 16 years old his father Scotty passed away. This was a difficult time for the Granger family, and Bob found himself spending a lot of time out at Harry and Marj Hanlon’s farm on Brock Road. Bob frequently reminisced about his time at the farm hanging out with the Hanlon boys – Jim, Joe and Bill.
Right after high school, Bob started to work for the County of Wellington in the Roads Department. Bob continued his education in his spare time, and took courses at McMaster and Western University and achieved various diplomas. Bob married his high school sweetheart, Cindy Davis, for which he was married for 13 years and had two children Jim and Steve Granger. Bob was remarried to Kathy Hargreaves, and they had a son named Matthew, followed by 20 years of marriage, rounding out the Granger brood to three boys.
As a young adult, Bob played for the Guelph Ingrams Inter-city fastball team. He was a catcher and he loved travelling all over Ontario playing ball. He would go into tournaments, taking the kids camping in the tent trailer. The Guelph Ingrams won the Provincial Championship in four out of the five years in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
“I grew up on ball diamonds following that team” shared son Jim Granger, who is a Phys. Ed. teacher at John F. Ross. “My Dad was my idol and I loved watching him play ball. It’s how I learned to play ball and where I developed an enjoyment of camping from that time spent with Dad.” When Bob’s time on the Ingrams team came to an end, Bob played ball with his boys, friends and family members in the Guelph Service League.
Over the years, Jim learned how to renovate by watching his father. “I remember Dad blew out the back of our house, pouring the foundation, framing it and doing constant renovations,” said Jim. “Once he rented a jackhammer and used it for one week straight. He was good with his hands, especially at woodworking, and he was willing to tackle anything.”
During Bob’s career at the County of Wellington, he was promoted to Personnel and Purchasing Manager, a position which he enjoyed tremendously and retired from in 2005 after working 36 years at the County of Wellington.
Bob mentored Andrea Lawson, Director of Human Resources at the County of Wellington, prior to his retirement. “Bob had a very special way about him” described Andrea. “No matter what walk of life an individual came from, he made them feel valued and appreciated when he spoke with them.” This made him exceptionally good at his career working in Human Resources.
“When Bob had to make difficult HR decisions affecting staff members, they would hug him and thank him as they were leaving” Andrea shared. “Employees enjoyed working with him so much and they had the utmost respect for him.”
Bob took on several post-retirement jobs including contract work with Centre Wellington Township, Mosey and Mosey, and HR consulting for other firms. Bob enjoyed being a lifetime member of the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA), including time spent on the Board of Directors.
Throughout his retirement, Bob enjoyed renovating his stone house in Fergus whom he shared with his partner Marti Sharpe, and spending time at their place at Pike Lake. Bob and Marti toured extensively, going to Ireland and Scotland, Portugal, Barbados, the Florida Keys, New Orleans, Phoenix and San Diego.
“Due to Bob’s outgoing nature, we always met the most interesting characters” explained Marti. “He loved taking the backroads to check out the crops and find a local establishment where he could have a beverage and some conversation with anyone who happened to be nearby.”
In April 2013, while away with Marti on a golf week near Coco Beach, Bob experienced pain in his ribcage that would not go away. Upon returning home and after several tests and medical appointments, it was determined that he had stage IV lung and bone cancer. Although only expected to live one year, he lived for over two years despite also developing brain cancer.
Bob continued to live life to the fullest during that time. In the last two years Bob and Marti managed two trips to both Florida and Arizona, and road trips to the East Coast, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Chicago. Bob golfed and spent precious time with family, including his seven grandchildren and many friends. He especially enjoyed taking his grandkids for rides in his Chevy SSR and golf cart at Pike Lake, which his family bought for him after receiving the diagnosis. Bob even helped to organize a Guelph Ingrams reunion with long-time Ingrams pitcher, Ron Robinson last October, that was very well-attended and brought Bob a lot of pleasure.
“Bob’s genuine beaming smile never really waned until the last week of his life” shared Marti. Even then he managed to try to bring a smile to our faces despite knowing we were about to lose him.”